In direct contrast to the sweet contentment I felt on Earth Day, today I have felt tense, taut, stressed, unhappy, unsettled, depressed and discouraged. Yesterday was a hard day for a variety of reasons (primary being a baby that doesn’t like car travel + a long day in town with much ins and outs of the car). The Judgmental Committee in my head not only decreed that I’m a bad mother, but also a bad friend, wife, daughter, and overall person. I feel pulled between the needs of my older children, my baby, my work, and my business and end up feeling like I’m not doing a good job with anything. Today, I returned to an old conclusion/realization: much of life about discernment. I have a tendency to become dualistic in my thinking, either I DO IT or I QUIT IT FOREVER. At the same time, I am very harsh with myself at my perceived inability to “flow” and surrender (even though, when I look at my life objectively, I see that every single day, I actually demonstrate great capacity to adjust and adapt and be flexible).
This morning, I woke up remembering that today is the second anniversary of my grandmother’s death. No wonder I feel a little “off,” sad, and out of sorts. I also was harping at myself about not being able to “unclench my life” and just be with it. Why must I always push and force? Why don’t I know when to stop pushing or grasping? But, then the image of a seed came to me, pushing its way out of the shell and up through the soil. Life, Nature, pushes all the time. And, she refuses to give up. One of the daily miracles I witness in the forest is life’s refusal to quit. The refusal to give up, the tenacity of trying again, even when the ground is rocky and the wind blows fiercely. So, in response to the first prompt for 30 Days of May today, I realized the call of the “May Queen,” to me is of discernment. To find the balance between when to hold, when to fold. When to yield, when to resist. When to coast and when to swim against the current. When to push and when to pull. When to rest and when to keep going. When to laugh and when to cry. When to (temporarily) surrender and when to fight. When to soften and when to contract.
Pushing is not wrong. Sometimes it is exactly what is called for.
These are not unique or amazing revelations, but I needed the reminders anyway. The prompt for today also suggested pulling a tarot card and so I drew a Womanrunes card and it was The Cauldron. In a sweet synchronicity, it reminds me: something is waiting to be blended.
Coincidentally, I had a post from Jennifer Louden starred in my inbox as well about cycles of expansion and contraction:
…Be alert for feeling like a stubborn child, who feels cheated because the perfect day at the park is over and digs in her heels, stubbornly turning away from the cool glass of water and the freshly made bed. In other words, continue to give yourself what you most desire – the time to meditate or write, the time to hike in the patch of forest by your house – even if it isn’t the hours you would have on retreat or the pristine wilderness hundreds of miles from humans. Because to follow your desire, to tend them with care, is both the path home and a wonderful place to be right now.
Be alert to telling yourself, “Well that was pointless, why give myself _____ again?” Retreats and deep dives and walkabouts are precious. Period.
When I first led retreats, I used to feel like a charlatan because after the retreat was over, in a few weeks, people were back to regular life. It took me years to understand that’s normal! It’s okay. It is what we do with what we experienced and how we generously share that matters…
I’ve had this feeling before about our women’s retreats—how to “carry over” our sense of centeredness and connection and sisterhood and positivity. Or, how to maintain and hold the sense of personal equilibrium, stillness, connection, and understanding that I feel while sitting along on a rock into the chaotic noise of life with four kids. Maybe it is fine simply to sometimes feel it and sometimes not.
This tree took root over a slab of stone in the woods. At some point it tipped over, pulling the rock up with it. It continues to grow from a prone position along the forest floor. Its huge, strong roots stretch out on either side and you can peek right under it…
And, nearby, redbud flowers bloom directly from the partially split trunk of a storm-damaged redbud tree.